It’s looking increasingly likely that Rupert Murdoch will get the thing I bet he will be wishing for when he blows out 80 birthday-cake candles this Friday – permission to buy the 61 per cent of BSkyB he doesn’t already own.
Ahead of Murdoch’s birthday, Radio Four’s Archive on 4 has produced this brilliant profile of him which was broadcast last night. In it even Murdoch’s enemies admit they have to admire him as a businessman. Among the gems are a TV interview with Terry Wogan from the 1980s in which Murdoch defends the journalism of The Sun to the hilt, in the face of laughter from the studio audience – even though it is clear that he privately found some of the excesses of then editor Kelvin MacKenzie unacceptable.
Media Guardian today publishes a Murdoch special which is also well worth a read as is this snazzy interactive time-line chronicling the Murdoch years, from 1953 to the present day.
Press Gazette will be publishing its Murdoch 80th birthday coverage on Friday.
But in the meantime, the big question posed by this landmark has to when will he retire?
No time soon, according to Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff who I interviewed in 2009.
He told me: “Rupert profoundly believes he has another 40 years, and in that time – whether it’s 40 years or somewhat less – he wants to do what he has to do to be the greatest, if not the last, newspaper proprietor on earth.”